By Allen Cowgill
Denver residences will see changes to their solid waste pickup starting in January along with new fees for many residents to help fund the services.
One of the early benefits is that all residents will see weekly recycling pickups starting in January, a change from the current standard of recycling pickups every other week.
All Denver residents will also get compost bins that will be phased in starting this summer. The compost bins are starting later in the year so the Denver Department of Transportation and Infrastructure (DOTI) can have enough time to purchase 25 new compost trucks and hire new drivers.
Residents will be able to throw any types of food scraps, yard debris, and non-recyclable paper like tissues or paper towels into their compost bins. This program is for residents that live in single family homes and buildings with apartments of up to seven units. Currently, Denverites only send about 26% of solid waste to be recycled or composted, below the national average of 34%.
The new program will incentivize residents to do more and they will have a choice of picking between small, medium, and large black trash cans for landfill waste. The smaller trash cans will be charged the lowest monthly fee of $9. The medium size landfill trash bin will cost $13 per month, and the large size will cost $21 per month. The fee also includes the cost of weekly compost and recycling.
DOTI spokesperson Vanessa Lacayo said, “Roughly 30,000 of our existing 180,000 customers are already composting and have a good idea which size trash cart will work best for them. Similarly, we have some smaller households that are not filling up their trash carts currently. We’re asking those customers to call in to 311 to request a new size. We have prioritized getting those out before quarterly billing begins in Q1 of 2023.”
“Everyone else, we are asking them to wait for their compost service to begin before they downsize their trash cart,” Lacayo said. “This way they’ll know what cart size is best. We are also offering them a credit on their monthly bill while they wait for their compost cart to get delivered and they can divert more of their trash.”
Denver is one of the few cities in the country that will be offering discounts on trash pickup for low income residents. They may be eligible for discounts of 50% to 100% based on their household income and the number of people in their home.
Applications are available on denvergov.org or via email at trashrebate@denvergov. org. Lacayo said that residents can also call Denver Human Services at 720-944-3350, where they can assist residents over the phone with the financial assistance form. Residents can also call that number to request a paper application be mailed to them.
Residents can call 311 for service in English or Spanish for help with new trash can sizes, or the Denver Human Services number for help with applying for financial assistance in Spanish.
Residents can also now request new trash bin sizes on pocketgov.com.
Allen Cowgill is the City Council District 1 appointee to the DOTI Advisory Board where he serves as the Board Secretary.